Coach Mike Stawski on board to invigorate Crusader Baseball

Coach Mike Stawski congratulates starting pitcher Rahul Champanieri and infielder Malek Bolin as they come off of the field after a stellar inning during the series against the Schreiner Mountaineers

With the retirement of Coach Ben Shipp last January, it was only a matter of time before
UMHB hired a coach who would meet the school’s numerous requirements.

“When our head baseball coach position became open, our goal was to hire a great coach who would also be a great fit at UMHB,” President of UMHB Randy O’Rear said. “We believe we accomplished that and hired one of the best coaches in the country. Coach Stawski is a faithful Christian, strong leader, and has a proven track record of building championship NCAA Division III baseball programs.”

The timing for this change in leadership for the baseball program could not have been more well-timed. With football, volleyball and women’s basketball teams coming off of fantastic seasons in both 2018 and this year so far, it is time for baseball to have its time in the spotlight. Coach Stawski has the ability to turn programs from average into championship contenders. However, that is not the only goal that Stawski has in mind for the program at UMHB. “We’re going to graduate really great kids from here,” Stawski said. “Kids that we are going to be proud of…what we are doing is developing the full person here, which is unfortunately lost sometimes in college athletics. But it will not be lost on us here. I will retire before I put winning ahead of my players,” Stawski said. “People are going to walk away saying, the baseball program developed great people who have made an impact.”

Coach Stawski’s devotion to these tenants was reflected in what the players think of him.

“He is definitely a genuine guy,” junior pitcher Andrew Hutchings said.

“It was obvious that the player-coach relationship really matters to him. Right off the bat, I could tell he was very knowledgeable about all aspects of the game.”

“I think having Stawski as the new face of the program is going to get Cru base-ball exactly where we need to be,” Hutchings said. “His attitude and coaching skills are already having a positive impact on all of the players. There is no doubt that this program is heading in the right direction.”

Hutchings seemed very positive.

Coach Mike Stawski speaks to runner and catcher Hunter McQuary on third base as he prepares to take home.

“I can guarantee that we will be in the best physical and mental state possible because of [Coach] Stawski, Wilson, J-Rod, and Coach Ram. We are going to play every game hard and we are going to win. Stawski’s strategy and mindset will show on the field through us players,” he said.

Stawski had a slightly different outlook regarding the performance of the team these next couple of seasons.

“The most important thing…is for the guys to learn the way you get the 27 outs is far more important than if you win the game,” Stawski said. “…too many people are focused on the outcome…it isn’t that simple. we could have played a great game and lost, we could have played a terrible game and won…My goal from a cultural stand-point…is to reteach 40 guys to be process-oriented.”

Stawski and the baseball program have already started the season with two wins and one loss to the Schreiner Mountaineers. The performance of this Crusaders’ team is off to a great start. Coach Mike Stawski’s arrival and plans for the season have both the team and the fan base surrounding his program excited for the future of the baseball program.

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